Understanding Your HOA

HOAs exist for the benefit of its members, the Owners. They are designed to protect property values while creating and preserving desirable community enjoyment by residents. This is done by generating a long-term vision for the community, establishing standards about upkeep and conduct that help maintain high property values, and providing sound fiscal management while offering programs and services that enhance the lifestyle of the residents.

Homeowners who choose to buy in a community with an HOA say that they appreciate the sense of community they feel there. The lifestyle benefits may include organized activities or opportunities that strive to acquaint people with similar interests such as photographing groups, quilting clubs, book clubs, and much more.  In larger communities, there are usually amenities for everyone to enjoy including sporting activities and so much more. The possibilities are endless! It’s all about finding what interests the residents in your community that brings people together.

Homes located within an HOA tend to maintain their value better than those located in areas without a community association because the HOA monitors how well homes and their surrounding property are being maintained. The biggest benefit for many homebuyers of a townhome or condo association is the reduction in homeownership responsibilities. It’s an ideal lifestyle for a lot of people who want to own a home but don’t want the physical responsibility for maintaining the exterior of their home, mowing and maintaining their yard landscape, or perform their own sidewalk and driveway snow removal.

Homeowner associations offer many advantages, but the level at which you enjoy living there is often determined by how involved you are in the community. Whether you’re connected via the community website, frequent attenders at neighbor events, or you interact with your immediate neighbors, your choice to participate means that you want to gain the most value from your HOA by helping to make it all that it can be.

Do you know what is “normal” to the neighbors around you so that you would recognize if something abnormal was happening?  What will ensure that you get the most out of living in a homeowners association?

Getting the Most out of Your HOA

Learn Through Meeting

Attending HOA meetings are an excellent way to become informed. Don’t assume your community is “just like” another community and should operate the same. No two communities are just the same. Colorado law provides opportunity for meetings of the Board to be open to its Members (except for a few specific topics which may be handled in Executive Session) so that Members can attend and listen to the discussion about issues being discussed. Minutes are generally posted on community websites. Minutes aren’t detailed; they are a formal record of decisions made, not the discussion held at the meeting, so Minutes are primarily a record just of the decisions; however, that information keeps its Members up to date of important happenings.

The next step towards having a positive HOA experience involves how you chose to address issues with the Association Manager (and/or the Board). Are you a homeowner with unrealistic expectations or are you willing to help find a remedy for a challenging situation? Sadly, many homebuyers move into their new home with expectations that the HOA can never meet because they heard it from somewhere … they understood their realtor to say … they hadn’t read the Governing Documents before they closed and didn’t know … the list of reasons is lengthy. So, what else can influence how much you enjoy living in a homeowners association?

Involvement in The Community

Get involved! Review your governing documents, introduce yourself to your manager, consider running for a seat on the Board, volunteer on a committee, attend community events, and respond to HOA surveys and share your opinion. The more deeply involved you become in your community, the more you will witness firsthand how your HOA is working to protect your property values and promote your enjoyment of the community.

In an HOA, there are committees that deal with the different aspects of the association and volunteering for a committee is a great way to get involved. Not only does it give you a sense of working together with neighbors to achieve a common goal but it also strengthens the community. If the community thrives, it becomes a more enjoyable place to live so volunteer a little of your time and you just might find that you get more value out of it than expected.